European markets moved solidly higher on Friday after a raft of preliminary PMI data for the European Union showed some glimmers of hope for improved growth in 2020. Investors were also continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation but were calmed by the World Health Organizations decision not to declare the outbreak a global emergency, saying it was still too early to determine.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 0.9% higher, while Germany’s DAX soared 1.4%, and the CAC 40 in France advanced 0.9%. Gains were seen across the rest of Europe too, with the FTSE MiB in Italy up 1.1%, and the IBEX 35 in Spain adding 0.5%.
Industrial and technology stocks led gains for Europe. Shares of Bayer were up 2.5% on news of a potential out of court settlement in a trial that alleges its Roundup weed killer causes cancer.
In economic data, a raft of flash PMI data released early Friday morning showed continuing weakness in eurozone business activity. There were some signs of hope for the future, however, such as the composite future output index rising to 61.2, which is its highest level since September 2018.
The eurozone composite flash PMI remained at 50.9 in January, which was slightly lower than analyst expectations but was still welcome as readings over 50 indicate an expanding economy.
In London the FTSE was 1% higher, helped by a weaker Pound and with January PMI data coming in above forecast. The flash composite PMI hit 52.4 against an expectation of 50.6, with both manufacturing and services exceeding expectations.
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